After reporting its first cases of a new and more infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in in the United Kingdom, Japan announced on Saturday that it will halt all new entries from abroad from Monday until late January, AFP reported.

The country is already restricting entry for foreigners from most countries over fears of the virus and all visitors are required to undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

Now, Japan has announced that all travellers arriving from countries where the new coronavirus strain has been reported must undergo test twice. Once within 72 hours ahead of their departure for Japan and again upon arrival at Japanese airports. Local reports stated that this was aimed at stop the spread of a new Covid-19 variant.

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 Foreign visitors with visas will be allowed to enter, with the exception of those who had visited the UK or South Africa -- two of the countries where the strain has been detected -- within two weeks of applying for their entry permit.

This announcement comes a day after the country announced that five people who came from the United Kingdom had been found to be infected with the new coronavirus strain.